'Twas the Night Before Nuthin'*
by Marc Auerbach

'Twas the night before nothin', when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The dishes were done, and I dozed without care,
In hopes that the morning soon would be there;
My cat Fang was curled up and fully fed.
While little brown field mice through his dreams fled.
And twelve years I’ve lived here without one mishap.
No reason to think this not just another long nap.

When in the next room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed as I heard the glass shatter.
Away flew the window, burst in a flash,
Tore through shuttered blinds, which fell down with a crash.
My eyes came to rest upon the new-holed-window,
And the fine crystalline dust looked like new fallen snow.
Naught in my inquiring ear did I hear,
And the street was all quiet not a soul did appear.
Now rapid the blood it coursed through my veins,
But I was thinking and calling the vandals by names;

“Now dammit! Now answer! Now why’m I a victim?
Oh come on, oh stupid, you dunder-head cit’zen.
To hell with the bunch! To hell with you all.
Now dash away, dash away. Now who do I call!”

As dry leaves my mouth and I sense I’ll not die,
I pick up the phone and give 9-1-1 a try.

Soon up pulled the night-cops in cruisers by two.
Out west here they're sheriffs, not men in blue.

As I ventured outside and had a look 'round,
Down the walkway came officer Dave with a bound.
He was dressed all in khaki from his head to his foot,
His boots were spit-polished, and his face not hirsute.
A belt full of gadgets hung from his waist,
And he look’d like you’d expect; very straight-laced.

His flashlight probed the scene quick as a wink,
And I asked him some questions, “what did he think?”

I told him I had no enemies I could recall.
No recent incidents. No Nothing at all.
I’d heard not a word nor a sound from outside.
I had no descriptions, no motives, nothing to hide.

I revealed I was a planning commissioner.
Could this be the act of an irate petitioner?
This certainly gave us both a good chuckle.
It’s hard to think zoning could be so bare knuckle.

His conclusion was Friday-night revelers.
Probably drunk and acting as bedevilers.

He spoke no more words but filled in the paper work.
And handed me a case number then turned with a jerk.

And saying, “goodnight” out the front door he goes.
I left in the dark with a paper, a cat and broken windows.

I sprang into action and as the vacuum cleaner whistles.
Away the glass goes right down past the bristles.

But despite this I’ll exclaim when I speak of this night.
“Thank Christ that was all, and all that happened that night.”

*On Friday, March 29, 2002 at approximately 2:00am in the morning, an unknown perpetrator threw a rock the size of an Idaho potato through the front window of a residence located on

Copyright © 2002. All Rights Reserved.